Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, "Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.
— Proverbs 4:1–7
Wisdom is a powerful thing. In fact, I think wisdom is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us. I believe wisdom is the ability to see the correlation between a choice and its consequences and then making choices that reflect that correlation. The reality is that God has made it possible for us to foreknow what the consequence will be for a given choice. We can know this because God made the world to operate on principles. The world always operates under the principle of gravity. When they build a ship, they don’t have to put it into the water and hope it floats. Instead, because of Archimedes’ principle, and the fact that God made the world to operate on principles, they can know when they put a boat into the water that it will float.
The proverb writer tells us to not forsake wisdom “…and she will keep you; love her and she will guard you.” God has given us this gift of wisdom to guard our lives. If you love and pursue wisdom, it will protect you and guard you.
So the next logical question would be “Ok, so how do I get wisdom?”. I am glad you asked. There are three ways that I want to give you today to become more wise:
- Learn from your mistakes. The proverb writer says that just as a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly. (Proverbs 26:11). So, it is wise to learn from your mistakes and not make the same mistakes over and over.
- Learn from others’ mistakes. It’s wise to learn from your mistakes, its wiser to learn from the mistakes of others. Observe people’s lives and learn from their mistakes.
- Ask God. God promises us that when we have the humility to ask him for wisdom he gives it to us freely. (James 1:5). Very often, I find myself in situations where I really don’t know what the wise decision is, and so I do a James 1:5: I ask God!
So, let’s recognize that there is a better question to live by than “Am I allowed?” Instead let’s start asking ourselves, “What is the wise thing for me to do?” And as we ask that question and allow it to govern our lives, we will be protected from harm, and we will see the natural consequences that come from aligning ourselves with the way God made the world to operate.